House Agriculture-FDA Spending Bill Includes NMPF Priorities

NMPF is pleased that the House’s version of the Fiscal Year 2022 Agriculture-FDA Appropriations bill (H.R. 4356) approved July 29 includes a number of policy provisions and funding levels of significance to dairy.

Importantly, the bill continues a critical provision NMPF secured in last year’s measure to continue to allow schools to serve low-fat flavored milk.  The continuation of this language helps to build momentum for NMPF’s work with Congress and USDA toward a long-term approach to keeping this option, likely as part of upcoming child nutrition reauthorization legislation.

H.R. 4356 funds two programs intended to boost dairy consumption and innovation.

  • It provides $3 million for the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Projects authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill to create pilot programs to increase milk consumption among households receiving support from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
  • It allocates $25 million for the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives program, which provides direct technical assistance and grants to dairy businesses to further the development, production, marketing, and distribution of dairy products.

The House bill also funds several other key programs for dairy and agriculture, providing $10 million for the USDA Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network aimed at connecting those working in agriculture to stress assistance and support programs, and $800 million for USDA’s ReConnect program which works to provide broadband service to eligible rural areas.

Finally, the accompanying committee report includes NMPF-led language intended to speed up approval and market delivery of animal feed additives that can reduce enteric methane emissions by 30 percent or more, a critical component of dairy’s Net Zero Initiative to become carbon neutral or better by 2050. While growing research demonstrates the effectiveness of these additives, current policy classifies them as drugs, slowing their entrance to the U.S. marketplace even though they move solely through the animal’s digestive tract. The House report language directs the Food and Drug Administration to seek solutions that would regulate these additives as foods, rather than drugs, speeding their approval and allowing dairy farmers to fully capture the potential of this innovative new practice.

NMPF looks forward to working with Congress to enact this measure into law before current government funding expires Sept. 30.